Homeowner found not guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice by falsifying a cleaning bill
Wellington owner Craig Relph and his father Alvin Relph have been found not guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Two men have been acquitted of forging a cleaning bill to go to tenancy court and then creating new false supporting evidence, a judge has ruled.
Pension owner Craig Relph and his father Alvin Relph have been found not guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice and aiding in the attempt.
Wellington District Court Judge Andrew Becroft heard the case without a jury and issued his decision on Friday dismissing the charges against the men.
Further charges of perjury in court had followed the discovery that they had been filed outside a legal time limit, the judge said.
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Craig Relph is considered one of Wellington’s greatest owners.
Becroft said a young man, whose name is withheld, who lived at the boarding house harmed himself in 2015. He was helped by residents and taken to hospital.
The other tenants then cleaned the common areas but left his room.
The young man’s mother then came to clean his room
Relph had said he contracted for urgent cleaning services to happen and it was undertaken by his father Alvin who ran a cleaning business.
Becroft said the Crown’s evidence was that no cleanup had been done and if so, there was nothing urgent about it.
At a hearing in the Rentals Tribunal, Craig Relph presented the invoice and then later provided further email evidence that the Crown said it had created.
Emails between the two charged men showed that Alvin had been asked to create the bill.
The judge said the Crown’s case was that after the court hearing, Alvin created an email address for the service and then sent an email from that account, wrongly detailing the cleanup pension. This email was provided to the Rentals Tribunal.
The young man’s mother then filed a complaint with the police who investigated.
Judge Becroft said that while others did not see the cleanup taking place, that did not mean it had not happened.
He also said he couldn’t be sure that a delay in generating the bill was indicative of guilt.
The judge said that while a lot of the circumstantial evidence looked very suspicious, it could also be explained, which left him in doubt.
The two men had their names removed until the end of the trial, which lapsed with the judge’s decision.
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